How to photograph DMPLs

“DMPL” is an abbreviation of the term “deep mirror prooflike,” one of the most desirably coins, especially in silver dollars, with frosted devices and real-mirror surfaces. Photographing them correctly is essential if you wish to bring top dollar to your consignor.

Click the above picture from Matthew Bullock Auctioneers, one of our top houses, to see how to handle with cotton gloves and photograph the mirror surfaces of a Morgan dollar, especially desirably in mint state.

Several houses continue taking angled pictures of coins rather than straight-on ones that show defects or mirrors. The coin below may or may not be deep mirror prooflike. The photographs make it look washed out so that little detail can be seen. As such, we have to take the auctioneer’s word that this is a DMPL. In this case, we know and admire the auctioneer who understands coins. But he can sell more at higher profit with a little attention to photography.


Here is an example of the wrong way to photograph DMPLs.


The challenge for online auctioneers is to prove the lot description to win the trust of online bidders.

Silver Trades, like Matthew Bullock Auctioneers, takes several pictures to document DMPL. Devices should be frosted so that the black-mirrored fields stand out.


Click and expand this example from Silver Trades to see how it’s done.


After your clear, sharp and expandable straight-on shots, hold the surface of the coin (with gloves) or put the coin on a small stand at a slant against text of your business card (for added advertising). The reflection should be “deep”–at least four inches of readable depth from the text, and preferably six inches.

We still are confused as to why auctioneers take photographic shortcuts and then pay (and sometimes complain about) Proxibid fees. The portal is giving you the opportunity to reach a wider Internet coin-buying audience. You can quadruple your hammer price and spark bidding wars just by showing (and not necessarily knowing) that an uncirculated coin is deep mirror.

Try it, and share the results in an “On the Block” on Proxiblog.

Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.

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